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BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?

GUEST,B52 17 Jun 08 - 07:46 AM
Paul Burke 17 Jun 08 - 08:09 AM
Little Hawk 17 Jun 08 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,number 6 17 Jun 08 - 08:58 AM
Little Hawk 17 Jun 08 - 09:10 AM
Keith A of Hertford 17 Jun 08 - 09:15 AM
Little Hawk 17 Jun 08 - 09:29 AM
Rapparee 17 Jun 08 - 09:50 AM
Keith A of Hertford 17 Jun 08 - 10:00 AM
Keith A of Hertford 17 Jun 08 - 10:03 AM
Wolfgang 17 Jun 08 - 10:24 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Jun 08 - 10:48 AM
Teribus 17 Jun 08 - 11:03 AM
irishenglish 17 Jun 08 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Jun 08 - 11:44 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Jun 08 - 12:22 PM
Grab 17 Jun 08 - 01:05 PM
Peace 17 Jun 08 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,number 6 17 Jun 08 - 01:25 PM
Peace 17 Jun 08 - 01:26 PM
Rapparee 17 Jun 08 - 01:28 PM
Def Shepard 17 Jun 08 - 01:30 PM
Peace 17 Jun 08 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,number 6 17 Jun 08 - 01:41 PM
Peace 17 Jun 08 - 01:51 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 17 Jun 08 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,Neil D 17 Jun 08 - 02:47 PM
Def Shepard 17 Jun 08 - 02:55 PM
Donuel 17 Jun 08 - 03:18 PM
Polite Guest 17 Jun 08 - 03:28 PM
Rapparee 17 Jun 08 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,Chief Chaos 17 Jun 08 - 03:41 PM
Peace 17 Jun 08 - 03:47 PM
irishenglish 17 Jun 08 - 03:48 PM
Polite Guest 17 Jun 08 - 04:24 PM
Little Hawk 17 Jun 08 - 04:58 PM
Little Hawk 17 Jun 08 - 05:14 PM
Richard Bridge 17 Jun 08 - 06:13 PM
Rapparee 17 Jun 08 - 08:00 PM
Charley Noble 17 Jun 08 - 08:59 PM
Slag 17 Jun 08 - 10:23 PM
Rapparee 17 Jun 08 - 10:40 PM
Folk Form # 1 18 Jun 08 - 06:33 AM
GUEST,B52 18 Jun 08 - 06:46 AM
Keith A of Hertford 18 Jun 08 - 07:08 AM
Grab 18 Jun 08 - 08:19 AM
alanabit 18 Jun 08 - 10:52 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 18 Jun 08 - 11:39 AM
Paul Burke 18 Jun 08 - 12:30 PM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jun 08 - 12:38 PM
Little Hawk 18 Jun 08 - 12:40 PM
Nickhere 18 Jun 08 - 01:04 PM
Teribus 18 Jun 08 - 02:32 PM
Rapparee 18 Jun 08 - 03:19 PM
Les from Hull 18 Jun 08 - 03:26 PM
Little Hawk 18 Jun 08 - 04:21 PM
Nickhere 18 Jun 08 - 06:25 PM
Les from Hull 18 Jun 08 - 06:42 PM
Little Hawk 18 Jun 08 - 06:46 PM
Little Hawk 18 Jun 08 - 06:47 PM
Rapparee 18 Jun 08 - 06:52 PM
dick greenhaus 18 Jun 08 - 08:12 PM
Little Hawk 18 Jun 08 - 08:54 PM
Rapparee 18 Jun 08 - 10:02 PM
Little Hawk 18 Jun 08 - 10:40 PM
Rapparee 19 Jun 08 - 08:45 AM
Grab 19 Jun 08 - 08:47 AM
Teribus 19 Jun 08 - 12:40 PM
Little Hawk 19 Jun 08 - 01:06 PM
Teribus 19 Jun 08 - 02:29 PM
Little Hawk 19 Jun 08 - 02:59 PM
Teribus 19 Jun 08 - 06:48 PM
Nickhere 19 Jun 08 - 08:35 PM
Nickhere 19 Jun 08 - 08:41 PM
GUEST,Zach 19 Jun 08 - 09:03 PM
Dead Horse 19 Jun 08 - 09:10 PM
Little Hawk 19 Jun 08 - 09:12 PM
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Teribus 20 Jun 08 - 12:43 AM
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Subject: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: GUEST,B52
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 07:46 AM

Interesting Programme on cable last night about the British in the early 1940´s. Dunkirk, bombing of English cities and poor equipment gave them a gloomy outlook. 7th December 1941 saw American become involved. If we hadn´t come in could the Brits really have defeated the German war machine ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 08:09 AM

The Russians would probably eventually have beaten the Germans, purely because of logistics. Britain would probably have held off a German invasion, though at great cost, and would have been in no shape to resist Stalin.

By December 1941 Britain had already defeated the first attempts at invasion, and the Germans' involvement elsewhere made an early repeat unlikely, but overwhelming resources were required to stage a counter- invasion.

The Japanese already controlled much of China and French Indo-China, and it's unlikely that they would have kept away from British possessions for long.

So the outcome of Americans failing to become involved would have been a Communist Europe and a Japanese Asia, and possibly India and Australia too. The post-war American hegemony would not have happened at least until after the third world war.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 08:40 AM

No, the UK could not have defeated Germany by themselves without America in the war. However, I doubt that the Germans could have defeated the UK either, but they would have remained in control of western Europe, and probably would have taken much of the Mediterranean/North African theatre...though not necessarily all of it.

If Hitler had gone ahead with his ill-advised invasion of Russia, then the great bulk of the German land and air forces would have been tied down in the East for a long time. The Germans might have eventually defeated the Soviets decisively or they might not have, it's hard to say. I doubt that the Soviets would have been able to stage a counterattack that would have defeated and occupied Germany...not without America also being involved in the war.

Then there's the Japanese and Americans. I think a war between them was absolutely inevitable. Suppose, just for the sake of interest, that the Americans had fought Japan, but not Germany. This would have resulted in an eventual Japanese defeat in the Pacific theatre, because the USA had a much stronger industrial base than Japan.

So here's an alternative theory to ponder...

By 1946 or 1947 you would have had a triumphant USA ruling in the Pacific theatre, a triumphant Germany ruling in western Europe, and in all probability a negotiated settlement for a ceasefire having been agreed to between the UK and the Germans in the West...while in the East the Germans and Russians might still be fighting stubbornly somewhere in central Russia.

The USA would be gathering its strength and looking toward a future rivalry with the Germans. The British would be looking ahead toward a future alliance with the USA to confront the Germans. The Japanese would be conducting a major re-assessment following their failed war in China and the Pacific theatre...and might even be occupied by victorious American forces. The Russians would be in bad shape, but hanging on. The Germans would be feeling untouchable in western Europe and much of the Mediterranean, but still bogged down in the East.

Just another possible scenario... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: GUEST,number 6
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 08:58 AM

"Could the UK have defeated Germany ?"

I honestly don't know ... I wasn't there.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 09:10 AM

That's uncommonly modest and unopinionated of you, 6. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 09:15 AM

Britain did defeat the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain, and forced Hitler to abandon the planned invasion.
Britain and Commonwealth alone defeated the Italians and finally turned the tide against Rommel in Africa.
The Royal Navy never allowed the Kriegsmarine to gain control of the seas, and destroyed all their battle cruisers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 09:29 AM

Yes, the British had a strong enough navy to ensure that the Germans could not gain control of the seas. In fact, Admiral Raeder of the Kreigsmarine had said at the beginning of the war that all the vastly outnumbered German navy could do was show that "they knew how to die gallantly". Given those circumstances, I think it can fairly be said that both the British and the German navies fought exceedingly well. They were worthy adversaries.

The British successfully fended off the German air attacks in 1940 adn prevented an invasion of the UK. I believe they would have been able to continue preventing it indefinitely. This is not to say, however, that they could have ever mounted a successful counterinvasion of western Europe...not without American assistance.

To win a battle is not to win a war. The British won a number of battles. So did the Germans. I don't think that either one of them would have been able to decisively defeat the other if America had stayed out of the European war.

Rommel could definitely have won in Africa if Hitler had arranged to supply him properly in the early stages of the campaign...but Hitler was not all that interested in doing so until it was far too late. That may have been Hitler's 2nd biggest mistake (after the invasion of Russia).


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Rapparee
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 09:50 AM

The US was helping the UK long before Pearl Harbor via Lend-Lease, just as US small arms companies were making rifles for England before the US got into WW1.

And Germany got very close to strangling Britain with its U-boat blockade.

The question as it stands deals only with the UK, not with the assistance of the Commonwealth forces or any assistance from other nations.

Could the UK, alone, have defeated Germany? I doubt it...Germany would have starved the UK into submission, as the UK alone wouldn't have had the material resources.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 10:00 AM

UK and Commonwealth were a single block.
It is meaningless to seperate them.
Britain finally defeated the U Booats, mainly by inventing ASDIC(SONAR).


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 10:03 AM

....by inventing SONAR and airborne RADAR


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 10:24 AM

Germany would have been beaten in roughly the same time without the USA entering the European war. The USSR was too strong. Could Britain have beaten Germany without the USA and the USSR? Yes, due to the Commonwealth backup, but in much longer time. Probably the common influence of a war without end and a dismally failed invasion would have led to Germans becoming tired of the war and the regime breaking down economically.

An invasion might have been successful very shortly after Dunkirk, but there was no preparation of an invasion at that time because the quickness of winning the war in France surprised also the Germans.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 10:48 AM

I always felt with Beckenbauer, they had strength in depth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Teribus
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 11:03 AM

Could Germany have invaded Great Britain in 1940, or any other time? The answer to that is no, for a number of obvious reasons:

1) They never in their wildest dreams thought that they would ever have to.

2) Because of 1) above they had made no preparations to carry out an amphibious operation on the scale that would be required. It should be noted that even with the unhindered industrial capacity of the US it took the allies four years to mount D-Day - The Dieppe Raid was a test along the lines of the German plan to capture a secondary port intact.

3) After the German invasion and occupation of Norway, Hitler didn't have a navy, an essential for mounting any amphibious operation.

By the bye, Britain would never have "starved to death". If there was one thing that improved out of all recognition during the war it was British agriculture. Even today if Government allowed it and fully supported Britain's farming industry the country could feed itself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: irishenglish
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 11:12 AM

I would say could they have defeated Germany by themselves-no
Could Germany have successfully invaded the UK-no, definitely not.
Monty Python fans will know that even the blancmanges were defeated, even after turning all of England into Scotsmen! (sorry, bit of a drift there)


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 11:44 AM

I have read, over the years, endless speculation about the Second World War and the various possible outcomes - as opposed to the actual outcome. But no-one ever seems to discuss what would have happened if Germany had won the FIRST World War (I wonder why not?).


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 12:22 PM

cos its pointless......?


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Grab
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 01:05 PM

Lend-Lease made it easier to afford what was *bought* from the US. But unless the US had flatly refused to trade with the UK, the UK would still have kept the convoys running.

The reverse wasn't true of Germany. After serious early problems, the British stomped the Germany submarine fleet with technological superiority. Combined with the fact that the British also ruled the skies (again through technological superiority) and that the British surface fleet was pretty damn good, the German surface fleet contributed little to the war effort except by sapping some British effort in destroying them. So Germany had no way to get supplies any way except overland or through the Med - in other words, Africa or Asia. Asia was out because the Russians beat them big style. And after a whole lot of grief, the British beat them in Africa too.

Without the Eastern Front, things might have been very different. A possible trading partner to supply coal, oil and ore, and a whole lot of spare troops, could have made a big impact. Still though, winning the Battle of Britain and British superiority in the air (not through better planes but through better planning) meant that any amphibious assault would have taken massive casualties.

A more interesting question is what America would be like if it hadn't got involved in the war. Always an insular nation, a decision to stand back would have left the rest of the world to Stalin, Hitler and the Japanese imperialists, and living in that global environment is going to have an effect. Could Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King have had any effect (or even survived) in that kind of a country?

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 01:09 PM

"Could the UK have defeated Germany ?"

Right now the UK is defeating itself on the "more session rudeness" thread. Don't know about Germany.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: GUEST,number 6
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 01:25 PM

""Some chicken....Some neck!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 01:26 PM

Rather colourful character was old Winston.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Rapparee
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 01:28 PM

I do not think that the UK could have defeated Germany alone -- without Russia siphoning off German troops, without the assistance of the Commonwealth, without the assistance of the US.

The UK lost all or almost all of its heavy equipment and most of its small arms at Dunkirk (not to mention the troops). The Hurricane and Spitfire were superior, overall, to the ME-109 and the Focke-Wulf, but production wasn't as fast as it should have been -- the Battle of Britain was a damned close thing!

The Germans had radar (albeit nowhere near as good a Britain's), and ASDICS was a multi-national developement:

Asdic was a term used to describe echo location and ranging using high frequency sound waves. It grew out of experiments undertaken by French scientists in the early 1900s on the propagation of sound in water. Of particular note is the Fessenden electromagnetic oscillator which was a precursor to the modern transducers used in sonar, the term now applied to Asdic operations. Other French scientists contributing greatly to the work were Langevin and Chilowsky who developed techniques for transmitting and detecting the sound waves. In 1915, NZ scientist Ernest Rutherford and scientists from the British Bureau of Investigation and Research (BIR) developed the process further and the first Asdics were ordered by the Royal Navy in June 1918. In the USA, experiments continued at Columbia University which lead to the formation of research teams combining the US Navy, the Submarine Signal Company, General Electric and Western Electric at Nahant, MA. Asdic research stepped up at the start of WW1 but it was not ready by the end of the war, and didn't get to sea until 1920, when one was evaluated on the cruiser HMS ANTRIM. Four patrol vessels were also fitted with Asdic on an experimental basis, leading to adoption of a production Asdic system in July 1922. British submarines were fitted with Asdic beginning in 1926. It was in service in British destroyers from 1928.

WW2 was won by team effort, against the Germans, the Italians, and the Japanese. I don't think one country along could have done it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Def Shepard
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 01:30 PM

Sorry I wasn't there, I was born 2 years after World War II ended


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 01:34 PM

Me too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: GUEST,number 6
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 01:41 PM

Me 3 .... I did though see it on TV though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 01:51 PM

Are we yhe old farts people warned us about?


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 02:21 PM

Without US involvement, the UK may have suffered a short-lived defeat at Germany's hands, but it would have prevailed in the end. German occupation of Britain would have consumed enough German troops and other resources to have greatly increased vulnerability on other fronts.

I can imagine a German general saying to Hitler, "The good news is that we've finally defeated those pesky British. The bad news is that we're going to have to send 25% of our entire army over there to keep them defeated."


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 02:47 PM

As long as you're not day old beer farts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Def Shepard
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 02:55 PM

WEll we're obviously not old farty enough to have remembered World War II first hand :-D


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Donuel
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 03:18 PM

No.

Not even with the sole help of the USA

Russia was most instrumental in Germany's defeat.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Polite Guest
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 03:28 PM

"If we hadn´t come in could the Brits really have defeated the German war machine ? "


Oh hell, of course we would of! Not only did we have Churchill, but we had Douglas Bader AND Vera Lynn. :0)

But, even more importantly, the British people, back then, would *never* have let themselves be invaded. We were, and are, an incredible People. We are at our best when facing adversity, always have been. It still runs in our blood.

" 'We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills..." It is said that, as he paused, in the great uproar that greeted these words, Churchill muttered to a colleague next to him 'And we'll fight them with the butt ends of broken beer bottles, because that's bloody well all we've got!'" - taken from 'The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill'

We would of too.

Just lately though, we've lost our way, given in, when we should actually be 'fighting on those beaches' once again, but this time against the biggest enemy of all, apathy. We need another Churchill, but sadly, right now we have only 'Cutthroats, Crooks and Conmen running this land' (to quote Show of Hands)


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Rapparee
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 03:37 PM

PGuest, I have the highest regard for the stand the British made and would have made against Hitler and his crew. I still remember stuff I read way back when I was what? 12 years old? in a publication* of HMSO entitled "The British Home Guard Manual." Mind you that I had no idea what a Sten gun was back then, but it sure sounded cool, and the receipts for Molotov Cocktails were, ah, enlightening.







*Obtained from the local Public Library.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: GUEST,Chief Chaos
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 03:41 PM

Don't mean to ruffle any feathers here but the singular biggest instrument in Germany's defeat was Hitler himself. I was told of three gigantic blunders made by Hitler.
1. Not allowing full participation of the military in Dunkirk (Luftwaffe alone) which might have resulted in the capture of thousands of soldiers that later fought against the Reich in other theaters.
2. The blunder of opening the Eastern front against Russia and not being preprared for the severe Russian winters which consumed and destroyed troops, equipment and supplies which could have been better used elsewhere.
3. The German belief that the technology they had was sufficient to win the war without further development. As an example, they had the jet engine early in the war and their own version of radar/sonar but Hitler didn't pursue development. THen when things were going badly they didn't concentrate their efforts on a few promising items but began pursuing dozens of them.

Of course this is all up for debate, I'm no historian or expert in any of this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 03:47 PM

"I'm no historian or expert in any of this."

I am. Vanilla beans come from orchids.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: irishenglish
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 03:48 PM

PG-the original question was could the UK have defeated Germany, meaning in the European theatre, to which I still say most likely, no. Could they have successfully invaded the UK, I would say no as well, but there is a difference between the two. Also I believe the lyric says Cuthroats....running this jail, not land.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Polite Guest
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 04:24 PM

Oh yes, I believe we'd have done that too. We didn't give in easily back then. We had emotionally, and spiritually, strong men and women everywhere, deeply determined too. We also had the best leader that any country could have wished for, in such a time.

Don't ask me how we'd have done it, war machine wise, as that's for you boys to sort out, I don't 'do' bombs and tanks, but I 'do' people...We'd have carried on fighting on everyone else's beaches, as well as our own, hidden in their hills, come out on to their streets, stood beside them in their fields..

We may not have had fancy uniforms, chewing gum, or stockings for those girls, we may not have had shiny boots to gleam in the sun, when 'funny marching' was strangely desired, but heavens, we had guts! Your dear British Tommy was a force to be reckoned with, as was Mrs. Tommy back home.



You're absolutely correct, I had the wrong word in that Show of Hands song (Yikes, I'm slipping!) :0)


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 04:58 PM

Hmm. Well, unquestionably the British had a lot of guts.

So did the Germans. Anyone who fought against them can vouch for that.

The Germans lost that war in the end because they were very, very outnumbered in both men and resources...because they took on too many enemies...and because they were being led by a very unstable and unrealistic man with a disastrously unrealistic view of the world.

Anyone else would have lost too in their position, I'd have to say.

Rapaire, you surprised me with this statement: "The Hurricane and Spitfire were superior, overall, to the ME-109 and the Focke-Wulf"

Say WHAT????? The Messerschmitt 109-E was the finest fighter in the western world in 1939-40, bar none. The Focke-Wulf was the finest fighter in the entire world when it entered service in 1941, and it remained so, I would say, until sometime in late '43.

The Spitfire was also a superb defence fighter, ideal for use in the Battle of Britain, and it was a virtual dead match for the German Bf-109, although each plane had certain advantages over the other. The German plane could dive and climb faster and had heavier firepower with its 20mm cannon, the British plane could turn tighter. With those two aerial adversaries it was mostly a question of the better pilot and the tactics he chose as to which one would come out on top.

The Bf-109 was a far superior fighter to the Hurricane...but the Hurricane was a darned good airplane for shooting down the German bombers as it made a very stable firing platform, and so the British tried if they could to have the Hurricanes take on the bombers while the Spitfires dealt with the fighter escort.

The Bf-109 had an extremely short operational range, and that was its greatest weakness in regards to the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was also quite short in range, but this is not a problem when you are defending over your own territory.

As for the Focke-Wulf, it was markedly superior to the contemporary Spitfire models from its first arrival until late '43...and so superior to the Hurricane that it could have eaten them for breakfast! Fighting Focke-Wulfs with Hurricanes would be fairly much like committing suicide, I should think.

The planes that eventually matched and somewhat surpassed the Focke-Wulf fighter were the American P-47 Thunderbolt, the American P-51 Mustang, and probably some of the late model Spitfires in '44 and '45 as well...although the Focke-Wulf kept being updated constantly, and as a result it fairly much kept stride with the Allied fighters right to the end. The last Focke-Wulfs were the long-nosed D models and the Ta-152s with inline engines, and they were extremely capable fighters.

Germany's key weaknesses in the Battle of Britain were: A superb air superiority fighter that had, however, too short a range (the Bf-109). A fine heavy fighter that was, however, not quite fast or maneuverable enough to dogfight the British Spitfires and Hurricanes (the Bf-110), a superbly accurate dive bomber that was far too vulnerable to fighter attack (the Stuka), and 3 types of medium bomber (He-111, Do-17, and Ju-88) that were all good tactical aircraft for the time...but were not the kind of planes suited to waging a strategic bombing campaign. For that you needed much larger and heavier 4-engine bombers like the British Stirling, Halifax, and Lancaster.

The Germans had an excellent tactical air force, but they lacked a modern and effective strategic bomber force...something that only the British and Americans really managed to create in that war.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 05:14 PM

I also should give some credit to the Russians for fielding some very fine tactical fighers...the Mig-3, the various Yak fighters, and the Lavochkin fighters La-5 and La-7. All of them presented the Germans with tough competition in the air, and the Yaks and Lavochkins eventually won close to complete air superiority in the the Eastern theatre, though at the cost of literally thousands of slain Russian pilots.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 06:13 PM

Probably, in the long term, for Hitler had lethally damaged Germany's educational and research potential, through race discrimination.

The UK gained valuable short term advantage by its superiority in cryptography and by capturing the German Enigma machine.

However, if the Germans had successfully invaded I do not think we could have run a successful guerrilla campaign. We do not make good martyrs in general.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Rapparee
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 08:00 PM

Horse patooties, LH. Granted, the 109 had heavy armament, but it was deficient in the number of guns it carried as well as in it's landing gear when compared to the Spitfire, especially after the Spit added a 20mm cannon.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 08:59 PM

Very interesting with the exception of those who claim that British soldiers are inherently superior to anyone else. Hogwash!

Training and motivation are important but so are technology and supplies, and one needs to factor them all in to speculate on outcomes.

American forces were outfought by the better trained and highly motivated Japanese in 1941-1942; it took several years for the Americans to gear up for total war.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Slag
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 10:23 PM

IF, IF, IF... If wishes were fishes, we'd all cast nets. I do not know what alternate dimension Grab came from but his WWII doesn't resemble the WWII I learned of. Chief of Chaos has it right. Germany's biggest flaw was Hitler. He eventually would have defeated himself regardless. Mental illness never gets better on it's own, only worse.

Brittan may have held out for quite a while but she was doomed without interventions from the US and Russia. IF Hitler had taken the time to consolidate his advances. IF, he had taken time to lie to the rest of the world and "made nice" while repairing, improving and developing his war machine. IF, IF, IF. Hitler had what would have been the greatest pincer attack in all of history if he could have waited and co-ordinated with Japan against Russia. IF.

Then there are the Japanese "IF's". If Japan had waited but a little longer to attack Pearl. Or if she would have followed up on Pearl and gone for the mainland and at least have set back our ability to respond until Russia had been dealt with. If!

The U-boats weren't trumped by GB. Any urgency that was placed upon Germany was done so by the threat of US entry into the conflict.

One of the key factors that lead Germany to war in the first place was limited access to the oceanic trade routes. German found economic competition particularly tough on the international scene. She needed more ports under her control prior to the war.

Too many IF's. It is too hard to point to a single factor, even Hitler himself. Germany's plight was profound and you could argue that the situation created Hitler (a Hitler). IF.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Rapparee
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 10:40 PM

I'll add some Ifs:

--If Hitler had let the Sixth Army retreat from Stalingrad...
--If Hitler had attacked the BEF at Dunkirk as he should have...
--If France had not depended upon the Maginot Line...
--If Hitler had listened to his Generals...
--If Hitler had let Guderian take Moscow instead of turning him South...
--If the Treaty of Versailles hadn't been vindictive...


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Folk Form # 1
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 06:33 AM

I surrender!!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: GUEST,B52
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 06:46 AM

Adding the sums up here, looks as if the war had remained European Germany would have won. Better trained soldiers and equipment. No canvas and webbing equipment or "a nail" for a bayonet(SMLE). Germany equipped their soldiers and didn´t depend on those in far off lands who didn´t even know where Britain was.

Same sory today in Iraq, Brit troops looking gear from our guys over there. As for the SA80, it´s a BB gun.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 07:08 AM

Hitler made many and serious mistakes.
British commanders made more and bigger ones.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Grab
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 08:19 AM

In what respect, Slag?

I don't say that the UK could have defeated Germany. Most likely, at best they could have clawed back some of France. But the German invasion of Britain was never on the cards after the Battle of Britain - air power trumped sea power. Crossing the Channel gave a massive home advantage to the defenders on either side, but British Fighter Command was massively coordinated for intercepting enemy aircraft. The British were also the world leaders in radar - no other country had implemented a similar radar net, nor had such advanced detectors. It's also worth remembering that although the Spitfire and Hurricane were instrumental to the RAF's success in the Battle of Britain, later aircraft like the Mosquito were far more potent and outclassed their German equivalents.

The battle for Africa was a battle for control of oilfields - both sides realised that without oil, mechanised warfare simply couldn't carry on. The British and Commonwealth troops won it without American assistance.

Code-breaking allowed the Allies to direct attacks at the most significant parts of the German war machine. This was achieved using Polish intelligence and British engineering, without American assistance.

Convoys from the US provided vital support - raw materials like oil and coal, and industrial equipment and weapons - and without the convoys Britain might well have run out of resources to continue fighting. They weren't free though - Lend-Lease required payment, even though that payment was deferred after the US entered the war in its own right. And Britain would have continued convoys regardless, because they *needed* that stuff. A successful German blockade *would* have worked, but the British navy's anti-submarine warfare outclassed the German submarine fleet through improved detection, developed by British engineers.

What Britain lacked, in short, was manpower, money and raw materials. It could defend itself, but it didn't have the resources to *project* a lot of force. The US provided that. Britain probably couldn't have won on its own, but equally it probably couldn't have been defeated either.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: alanabit
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 10:52 AM

A lot of interesting hypotheses here. Going to Keith A's post:

"Hitler made many and serious mistakes.
British commanders made more and bigger ones. "

I think there is some truth in that, but I fear he is overstating his case. As an island, you would have expected Britain to quickly grasp the basic strategies of modern naval operations early in the war. One of the main reasons Britain suffered such a pounding in the early years, was that they had failed to grasp that surface to surface firepower at sea was often irrelevant. Once we grasped the importance of air power and anti submarine warfare, our ships operated better on all fronts.
Strangely enough, one of the reasons that the US waged naval war more effectively from day one was the fact that they were forced to. They lost capital ships rather than aircraft carriers at Pearl Harbour.
However, considering Keith A's point took me back to Wolfgang's post. The most important difference between Germany's command structure (which had superb talent) and the UK's (admittedly of varying quality) was that mistakes were learned from and incompetent commanders could be removed. As long as Hitler was in power, the least capable mind was always going to have the greatest executive power. The German commanders without Hitler could (and quite possibly would) have achieved a negotiated settlement before absolute disaster overtook Germany. As long as Hitler remained in power, that was the only possible ultimate outcome. He simply had the habit of making too many enemies. He would have faced an indefinite terrorist war on several fronts. In short, all of Europe would have become his Iraq.
My own view, for what it is worth, is that a successful German invasion was unlikely, for the reasons given by Teribus and others. Had the Germans succeeded, I do not think the UK would have waged indefinite terrorist warfare against the occupier. Our terrain is unsuitable for it (other than in the cities perhaps) and I like to think we would not sink to that level and the horrible damage, which it would have inflicted on our own people. That is only speculation, of course. We know for certain that in many other parts of Europe the locals had no such inhibitions - notably in the Balkans.
At the end of the day, I will go along with Wolfgang's assertion that Germany's greatest weakness was Hitler himself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 11:39 AM

The U.K. never fought Germany as a lone entity so the question is moot. The Commonwealth is what stood together from the start and many, many lives were spent in defense of the mother country. The U.S.A. was the prodigal older son joining to help its parent and siblings. Russia was an ally only when in its own interest, but a major force as well.
If the USA stayed home the war with Germany would have been prolonged. If Hitler had more time to develop the A-bomb that would have been a total disaster because he had already developed the V-2 missle as a delivery vehicle. If he was able to deliver atomic destruction to London and Moscow the world may have been in his grasp.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 12:30 PM

Nuclear power was "Jewish physics"- the Nazis had been opposed to relativity from the beginning, as evidenced by the 1932 tract "One Hundred Authors Against Einstein". (Einstein's response was "Why 100? If I'm wrong, one is enough!")

Without the physics, they would have been unlikely to develop nuclear weapons. The rocketry would have delivered fairly devastating conventional payloads though, as in fact they did, but again that assumes that they would have not been more preoccupied with the Russians.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 12:38 PM

If Napoleon had had access to just one spitfire, Waterloo would have been a different story completely.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 12:40 PM

Strangely enough, Hitler never showed much interest or enthusiasm for the German atomic project, and that held it back badly. The British were aware of the danger, and they successfully bombed the German heavy water plant that was part of that project.

The British development of radar was indeed the best in the world, and it was one of the key factors that saved them in the Battle of Britain.

*********

Rapaire, I am happy to continue arguing with you about the relative merits of the Bf-109 (Me-109). ;-) In my opinion, it was the all round best fighter of the period 1939-40. It was very fast, quite maneuverable, and exceedingly well armed for the time (2, sometimes 3, 20 mm cannon and 2 x 30 cal. machine guns). It was also being flown by a highly experienced cadre of pilots who had more combat experience under their belts in 1940 than any other pilots in Europe, because many of them were veterans of the Spanish Civil War, and the campaigns in Poland, the Low Countries, and France. They were already employing what proved to be the finest tactical combat formation for fighters, the "finger four" formation.

In comparison you had the Hurricane and Spitfire which were armed with 8 x 30 cal machine guns. The 30 cal is a light machine gun, rifle calibre. Give it a nominal hitting power of "1". That gives a Hurricane or Spitfire an overall hitting power of "8". Give the German 20 mm cannon a nominal power of "4" in comparison. That gives a Bf 109 either (4 + 4 + 1 + 1) or (4 + 4 + 4 + 1 + 1)...either a "10" or a "14"...so the Bf-109 has a bit more firepower than a Hurricane or a Spitfire.

This problem was eventually addressed when the British began mounting 20 mm cannon on their Spitfires and Hurricanes, but they did not begin doing that until after 1940.

The Bf-109 also had a slightly higher level speed and a higher climbing and diving speed than the Spitfire...but the Spitfire could turn tighter in a turning dogfight.

The British pilots were hampered to some extent by using less effective combat formations, and by the fact that they were fighting more experienced German pilots in the early stages of the campaign.

The German pilots were greatly hampered by the asinine orders they were given by their own high command. Instead of being free to give chase to the British fighters, they were ordered to stay close to the German bomber formations. This made the guys in the bombers feel safer...but in fact it greatly reduced the effectiveness of the Bf-109s in protecting them. The right thing to do would have been to allow the Bf-109s complete freedom in pursuing the British fighters as they saw fit, and doing what they were best designed to do...."free chase". This is what the German fighter pilots kept asking for, and what Goering kept denying them.

Another disadvantage the Germans had was the fact that they were fighting over enemy territory. If they bailed out or crash landed damaged planes, they became prisoners. British who bailed out or made forced landings returned to fight again. These are the advantages that always accrue to the defender in an air war, and some pilots survived quite a number of bailouts and forced landings and returned to fight again.

There is no evidence that would suggest to me that the German single engine fighters were inferior to the British fighters. The Bf-109 was about as even a match for the Spitfire as you could possibly hope to find in 1940, and it perhaps had a slight edge in some respects, while it was way superior to the Hurricane (which was, however, quite a good fighter plane). The Focke-Wulf left all British fighters in the dust at the time of its introduction in '41. Further developments of the Spitfire achieved parity with the Focke-Wulf by late '43 or '44.

The Germans did not lose the Battle of Britain because the British fighter planes were superior. They lost it because they did not have the right kind of bombers to do the job, and they kept changing their minds about what to bomb (they should have kept bombing Fighter Command's airfields), and they finally made the complete tactical error of bombing metropolitan London...which caused a lot of woe to the British public, but it gave the RAF airfields the respite they desperately needed...and that won the campaign for the British.

All they Germans were able to achieve was a lengthy and indecisive battle of attrition, and this was a battle which could not achieve the desired result of crippling the RAF and enabling a German invasion.

In my opinion the Luftwaffe was given an almost impossible task in the Battle of Britain. They failed not because of having weaker fighter planes, but because the whole idea was basically just not that feasible. They were an airforce best designed to tactically support the rapid advances of a land army...and everywhere that they were used in that fashion they won quick, decisive victories in the campaigns of 1939 to early '42.

In the case of the UK, however, they couldn't do that. The German army was stopped dead in their tracks by the Channel and the Royal Navy...so the old One-Two punch of the Luftwaffe + the Werhmacht could not be done.

Without the Channel, Britain would have fallen in a few weeks. With it, they could hold out indefinitely, and the Luftwaffe was just frittering away its strength to little purpose over southern England.

If you cannot follow up air attacks with a land or seaborne invasion...then you cannot occupy and conquer a nation.

(apparent exception to above (?): the surrender of Japan in 1945.......but that was in fact a case where the Americans definitely could follow up their air attacks with a seaborne invasion, and the Japanese knew that. And then you add the atomic bomb? Well, that's a whole other situation.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Nickhere
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 01:04 PM

Hitler made a major 'mistake' in the Battle of Britain - a lucky mistake for Britain as it turned out. He insisted on bombing cities and ok, factories in order to cow the British. Of course it only made them all the more determined to resist. He did this against the advice of his generals who had advised first destroying Britain's airforce as it sat on the ground between refuellings. Had he taken their advice, things could have turned out very differently. Instead he left it practically unhindered in attacking his bombers.

That's the problem of having a megalomaniac at the helm. While he did have a few good military ideas, he often overruled the sensible advice of the Wermacht generals who included some of the most able military commanders of the time. An even bigger mistake was to invade Russia, as someone noted further up, without being prepared for the long haul. He probably expected a quick victory, but Stalin moved arms production out of range to siberia, and Russia could 'afford' to lose massive numbers of men (1 million Russians died at Stalingrad alone) that Britain couldn't even have contemplated losing, and still have plenty more. The German attitude to the Russians was also different: they regarded Slavics as 'inferior people' which may be one reason why they underestimated them. They also dealt very harshly with Russians - massacres in Bylorussia, POWs sent to concentration camps etc., Russians in a sense, had a lot more to lose if they lost. British and US POWs on the other hand received far better treatment.

Germany's weaponry was very advanced and their tactics were also leagues ahead of other Western nations at the outbreak of war. The Versailles Treaty had dismantled Germany's army so Hitler had to rebuild the Wermacht from scratch with new weapons. Germany was one of the first countries to use paratroops and supply them with specialised weapons unless I am mistaken.

As regards the British never giving up and fighting to the bitter end.... I'm not so sure about that. The British had already shown what happens when they caved in to foreign occupation - back in 1066 in Hastings. The Normans were never dislodged. The experience of the Channel Islands which were occupied by the Wermacht from early on in the war, gives some flavour of what an occupied UK might have been like. People may not have wanted the Germans there but there wasn't much they could do about it. There was certainly no fight to the death. The British might have had fighting sprirt but they didn't have to contend with German forces actually occupying their soil as the French did. My guess is that Hitler would have allowed the Windsors (who are of German origin anyway) remain on as a kind of caretaker governemnt, like the Vichy regime in France. The Windsors would probably have capitulated and agreed on the basis that it would be better than direct rule from Berlin. But, who knows?

Perhaps like the Normans, the Germans in Britain might have eventually been assimilated rather than driven out as such. Even in Ireland when British military and bureaucratic occupation was finally ended, many elements of the British regime remained.

Incidentally, one excellents book on the Italian peninsula campaign of 1944 -5 is Alan Whicker's 'Whicker's War' (ISBN 10 0-00 720508-2). It's a very honest and humourous account, I think. It also startled me at times about the politics of war, how US Gen.Max Clark allowed Kesselring's armies to escape and form defensive lines because of his insistence on being the man who captured the highly symbolic Rome.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Teribus
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:32 PM

Important aspects of the Second World War that were vital to Britain's defence that Britain undertook for the most part alone:

- Naval actions during the "phoney" war period fixed it firmly in the minds of the German Navy that if ever they put out they would face defeat. I refer to incidents like the loss of the Graf Spee, capture of the Altmark, first and second battles of Narvik which cost Germany her destroyer fleet. Germany's naval losses in Norway saved Britiain from invasion.

- Mine-countermeasures and the defeat of the German magnetic mine. The greatest ship killer throughout the war was the mine. The Royal Navy swept them more proficiently than anyone else.

- The Battle of Britain, over Britain all advantage lay with the vastly outnumbered RAF, in this case their "command and control" of the resources they had were far superior to anything the Germans could offer to the battle. This was again demonstrated over Malta.

- The Battle of the Atlantic in which the USN contributed very little, as far as naval forces go the effort was something in the order of 95% British, when the going got tough during the U-Boats second happy time the USN even withdrew whatever contribution they were making to protect shipping off their east-coast. Their problems were solved by the RN "lending" them experienced First Lieutenants to act as ASW Advisors on their ships (My father used to play golf with one of them) the advice given was switch off shore lights and move your escorts to seaward of the convoys and operate ASDIC.

- Committment to fight the Germans in Greece and Crete. This is what saved Russia it delayed Hitler's invasion plan for Barbarossa by two months thereby making it highly unlikely that Moscow or Leningrad would fall before the onset of winter in 1941.

- Successful defence of Malta

- Western Desert where Axis Forces were defeated

- Defeat of Axis Naval Forces in the Mediterranean

- Successful defence of Burma and India tied down thousands of Japanese troops, artillery, ships and aircraft that would have otherwise been used against the island hopping US Forces in the Pacific.

At no time at all did the Germans ever have superiority in armour, artillery or manpower. To invade in the west in 1940 they relied very heavily on the use of captured Czech t35 and t38 tanks that were a damn sight more reliable mechanically than their own Pz I, II, III and IV types. The British Matilda MkII and French CharB were superior in terms of armour and in numbers. The best tanks at the time were both Russian KVI's and KVII's and the T-34/76. The T-34/76 and T-34/85 were possibly the best tanks in mass production in the world during the Second World War. The American Sherman was knicknamed "Ronson" due to it's propensity to catch fire and "brew-up", it's only advantage lay in its numbers. It was only with the fitting of a British 17 pdr gun to the Sherman (Firefly) that it was ever capable of taking on the German PzV's and PzVI's in Normandy and beyond.

In terms of aircraft the Germans suffered greatly from having no strategic bomber force, their air force existed purely as a tactical air arm in support of their army. Although they made terrific technical advances, RAF Bomber Command and the US 8th Air Force denied them the opportunity to make any telling impact through those advances according to Hitler's Minister of Production, Albert Speer.

Read Churchill's speeches made during the dark days of 1940 - Contained in those speeches there is absolutely no doubt that Britain and her Empire would win through - only a matter of time. Ultimately Germany's fate was sealed the minute Hitler marched east, and Britain had an ally.

According to Guderian, Hitler's Military Staffs had advised him that he had to have his war in the West no later than 1938 and his war in the East before 1944 in order to have any chance of success. On no account must he fight, or attempt to fight, on two fronts. Chamberlain and Deladier baulked him at Munich in 1938, in 1938 the majority of fighter squadrons in service in the RAF were flying biplanes, radar was in it's infancy and had yet to be perfected, the Royal Navy had only just begun design of the Flower Class Corvettes and escort Frigates - in 1938 Hitler may well have won.

Another little piece of naval trivia for Guest B52, every single technical innovation relating to Aircraft Carriers has come from the Royal Navy:
- Arrestor gear
- Steam Catapults
- Mirrored Landing Sights
- Armoured Decks - oddly enough the USN never did take these up which made their carriers particularly susceptible to Kamikazi attack.
- Centreline hanger lifts - as opposed to USN's insistance on side lifts, another major weakness in USN Carrier design
- Half-angled Flight deck
- Fully-angled Flight deck

"No canvas and webbing equipment or "a nail" for a bayonet(SMLE)."

What a bayonet needs, irrespective of design, is someone with a bit of guts behind it. Well B52, I can think of a number of bayonet charges against the Germans that were carried off quite successfully using that "nail" of a bayonet, and guess what? I cannot recall any that came from the other direction, wonder why?


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 03:19 PM

LH, I quite agree that the 109 was wasted in the way it was used. That it was a good, even great, aircraft I will not argue. I simply think that the Spit was, overall, a slightly better aircraft. Perhaps this was because the pilots had more freedom of movement and because they were defending their homeland against an enemy, just as Germans tried to do in 1945.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 03:26 PM

No the UK (or rather the British Commonwealth, with our Polish, Czech and Free French etc allies) would not have defeated Germany on its own. But Germany would not have defeated the UK. Even if the Battle of Britain had been lost, there is no certainty that Germany could have gained and retained control of the English Channel with the vastly superior Royal Navy in the way. Germany had very few of the kind of specialised landing craft that the Allies had in 1944, especially ones capable of carrying vehicles.

I think that the situation would have been very similar to 1812-15 - wait while the bad man has run out of steam in Russia and then get a few allies in to help finish him off.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 04:21 PM

Sounds like we're pretty much on the same page, Rapaire. ;-) As to which plane was superior...Spitfire or 109...it was nip and tuck between them. I'd say that the Spitfire had a slightly better long range development potential, while the 109 had perhaps a slight edge in some respects in 1940 (when 109Es were up against Spitfire Is and IIs)...but they were really very evenly matched airplanes.

The 109's worst weakness, as you already pointed out, was its very narrow and tricky landing gear. A hell of a lot of them were lost in landing or takeoff mishaps because of that. (Willy Messerschitt could have cured the problem by realigning the wheels a bit more to the vertical which would have necessitated quite noticeable "wing bumps", but he refused to do that. He wanted a clean wing. In the end, however, they did provide thicker wheels for improved ground handling in the G model 109s, and small wing bumps were required for that.) The Spitfire had a somewhat similar general landing gear arrangement, but it was better thought out and considerably less prone to causing landing or takeoff accidents.

Teribus is dead right in his lengthy comments of 18 Jun 08 - 02:32 PM.

It is fascinating to consider, as he writes, that "At no time at all did the Germans ever have superiority in armour, artillery or manpower." That is correct. They won their greatest victories not through having more weapons or better weapons, and certainly not through numbers, but through very innovative and flexible tactics.

One weapon they did have, however, which often proved decisive on the battlefield was the 88mm Flak gun. It caused a tremendous number of Allied casualties, and it was responsible for decimating Allied tank forces on a number of crucial occasions. The advance of the British Matilda tanks could not have been stopped at Arras (?) in 1940, but for a handful of those 88mm guns. It also proved to be the only ground weapon capable of destroying the Russian KV heavy tanks in 1941. They were impervious to the guns on the German tanks of the time, and along with the superb T-34 they totally outmatched the German Mark III and Mark IV tanks, as well as the Czech tanks the Germans were using.

The fact that the Germans did as well as they did in Russia (and in the West) speaks volumes about how well organized they were...and how poorly organized the Russians were...but the Russians had plenty of land and manpower and indutrial strength to call upon, and eventually they were able to reverse the fortunes of the Wehrmacht.

Like Napoleon, the Germans lost their war by invading Russia.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Nickhere
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 06:25 PM

Germany was way ahead with some weaponry - they developed the world's first jet fighter (the ME 262), the world's first proper assault rifle (Sturmgweher, on which the AK47 was based), the world's first military rockets (the V2 - on which the Apollo was based), the Tiger tank was more than a match for almost anything the Allies could throw at it, the 88mm gun was one of the most versatile and effective pieces of artillery made (as a field piece, in anti-aircraft role, anti-tank). The Allies couldn't wait to snap up Nazi scientists in order to get access to all that invaluable knowledge - one of the reasons they were in a race with the Russians. The Germans were apparently only a few months off completing the atomic bomb by the time they surrendered.

They were also ahead with tactics - the Blitzkreig, use of paratroopers (think Eben Emael), etc., etc., In Poland they were faced with cavalry charges (against tanks) and after Dunkirk the British realised this was not going to be like World War One. Their navy was inferior - especially in size - to Britain's and this was their main weakness from an armaments point of view. but had they managed to sucessfully invade England the Royal Family would have capitualted and the navy would have had to surrender anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 06:42 PM

LH - you are spot on about narrow track undercarriages. Bearing in mind how many Seafires were damaged in carrier landings, it was probably fortunate for any potential Bf109T (the navalised Bf109) pilots that the Germans never finished an aircraft carrier!


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 06:46 PM

I can't argue with much of that, Nickhere. You are right that the Germans produced many very advanced weapons.

The thing about Polish cavalry charging German tanks, however, is probably apocryphal. It may never have happened. Here are some interesting bits of info about the Polish campaign.

1. Both sides fielded cavalry. The Germans also had cavalry units, and they used them with much good result for both reconaissance and combat, continuing to use them even much later in the Russian campaign. (And the Russians also fielded many cavalry units in WWII, again with good result. One did not use them to fight tanks, needless to say, but for many other purposes of scouting and combat.)

2. It is doubtful that any Polish cavalry ever charged German tanks, although it's become a popular story.

3. People don't seem to realize that the Poles also had tanks of their own...just not enough of them. They had some light tanks, I forget the name, small tanks with machine guns...and they had a very good medium tank of the time with a high velocity 37mm gun called the 7TP. It was just as capable as the various German medium tanks it faced in combat.

4. The main thing that caused the Polish army to be massacred was the intense ground attacks launched by the Luftwaffe. Stukas in particular pounced on every transportation chokepoint and concentration of Polish troops they could find on the roads and elsewhere, and they wreaked utter havoc on them. The Poles did not have a large enough air force to be able to do much of anything about it. Most of the fighter planes they had were being held back to defend the Warsaw area, and they fought bravely, but were outnumbered and soon decimated.

It's true that the Germans had the Poles outclassed in equipment...but the cliche of cavalry charging tanks in no way conveys the reality of the situation. The Poles were not unfamiliar with the use of modern equipment in '39, and with a considerably larger airforce at their command they would have been much better able to meet the Germans on relatively even terms.

In WWII once you had command of the air you were unbeatable on the battlefield. The Germans established air superiority from the outset of that campaign. Only over Warsaw were the Poles able for a short while to offer fairly significant resistance in the air.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 06:47 PM

Yeah, Les...landing a 109 on a carrier would not be a pleasant prospect to contemplate! ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 06:52 PM

When speaking German arms of WW2, don't overlook the MG-42 machine gun. It became the basis of the US M-60 and others.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 08:12 PM

One might point out the seldom-mentioned fact that three-quarters of the German Army was tied up in the invasion of the USSR. THat's a big "aside from that..."


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 08:54 PM

Darn right.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 10:02 PM

I have wondered why the German generals didn't say, paraphrasing Augustus many years before, "Adolf Hitler, give us back our legions!"

German casualities, by campaign:

German KIA, Polish Campaign:         16,343
German MIA, Polish Campaign:         320
German WIA, Polish Campaign:         27,280
        
German KIA, Norwegian Campaign:         4,975
German MIA, Norwegian Campaign:         691
German WIA, Norwegian Campaign:         1,600
        
German KIA, French Campaign:         46,000+
German MIA, French Campaign:         1,000+
German WIA, French Campaign:         111,640
        
German KIA, the West to 5.31.44:         20,000+
German MIA, the West to 5.31.44:         1,700+
German WIA, the West to 5.31.44:         ??
        
German KIA, Balkan Campaign:         1,206
German MIA, Balkan Campaign:         3,915
German WIA, Balkan Campaign:         534
        
German KIA, Balkans 1941 - 11.30.44:         24,267
German KIA, Balkans 1941 - 11.30.44:         12,060
German KIA, Balkans 1941 - 11.30.44:         ??
        
German KIA, Eastern Front 1941 - 11.30.44:         1,419,728
German MIA, Eastern Front 1941 - 11.30.44:         997.056
German WIA, Eastern Front 1941 - 11.30.44:         3,498,060
        
German KIA, Afrika Campaign 1940 - 5.43:         12,808
German MIA, Afrika Campaign 1940 - 5.43:         90,052
German WIA, Afrika Campaign 1940 - 4.43         ??
        
German KIA, Italian Campaign 1943 - 11.30.44:         47,873
German MIA, Italian Campaign 1943 - 11.30.44:         97,154
German WIA, Italian Campaign 1943 - 11.30.44:         163,600
        
German KIA, the West 6.06.44 - 11.30.44:         66,266
German MIA, the West 6.06.44 - 11.30.44:         338,933
German WIA, the West 6.06.44 - 11.30.44:         399,860
        
German KIA, Home Front 1939 - 11.30.44:         64,055
German MIA, Home Front 1939 - 11.30.44:         1,315
German WIA, Home Front 1939 - 11.30.44:         ??

German Casualities by service:

Total in Wehrmacht Service 1939-1945:         17,893,200
Total Wehmacht KIA 1939-1945:         2,230,324
Total Wehmacht MIA 1939-1945:         2,870,404
Total Wehrmacht WIA 9.01.39 -12.31.44:         5,240,000
Total Wehrmacht Casualties 1939-1945:         10,340,728

In Heer Service, Total 1939-1945:         13,000,000+
Heer Desertions, 1939 - 1945:         ??
Heer KIA/MIA, 1939 - 1945:         1,600,000+
Heer WIA, 1939 - 1945:         4,175,000+
Heer Casualties, 1939-1945:         5,775,000+

In Luftwaffe Service, Total 1939-1945:         3,400,000+
Luftwaffe Desertions, 9.01.39 - 4.30.45:         120
Luftwaffe KIA, 9.01.39 - 4.30.45:         165,014
Luftwaffe MIA, 9.01.39 - 4.30.45:         155,450
Luftwaffe WIA, 9.01.39 - 12.31.44:         192,594
Luftwaffe Casulaties, 1939-1945:         485,000+

In Kriegsmarine Service, Total 1939-1945         1,500,000+
Kreigsmarine Desertions, 9.01.39 - 4.30.45:         150
Kriegsmarine KIA, 9.01.39 - 4.30.45:         65,029
Kriegsmarine MIA, 9.01.39 - 4.30.45:         105,256
Kriegsmarine WIA, 9.01.39 - 12.31.44:         21,002
Kriegsmarine Casualties, 1939-1945:         191,287+

In Waffen-SS Service, Total:         1,000,000+
Waffen-SS Desertions, 1939-1945:         ??
Waffen-SS KIA/MIA, 1939-1945:         250,000
Waffen-SS WIA, 1939-1945:         400,00
Waffen-SS Casualties, 1939-1945:         650,000+


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 10:40 PM

Well, there were many who wanted to say it, and a few who tried to, but Hitler was not a very good listener. Then too, he had set something into motion that he simply could no longer manage after Stalingrad, and it followed its inevitable course as wars do.

I notoce that the Waffen SS suffered incredibly high casualties...not surprising, as they were sent wherever the fighting was the worst, and they were the least inclined to yield their ground.

It appears from your list that the Germans had nearly 17 million casualties in their armed forces.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 08:45 AM

In my own opinion, one casualty would have been one too many.

Hitler was not a very good tactician, strategist, or leader. My mother would certainly NOT have invited him over for dinner!


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Grab
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 08:47 AM

Nick, the Germans made some great toys, but most of them were never implemented properly.

The ME-262 sounds great as "the first jet fighter", but in fact it was only a slight improvement in performance over its exact fighter-bomber counterpart, the De Havilland Mosquito, which had devastated the German nightfighters over the previous two years as the most capable fighter aircraft of the mid-war years. The ME-262 only came into service late in the war, too late to be of any practical use.

The V-2 rocket was also of questionable use. Just being able to put the things in the air was a major technical achievement, but their accuracy was such that about all the Germans could guarantee was to hit England, or with the later versions London. Hitting any particular target was never an option. The only reason they were of any use was because the RAF had made sending bombers over Britain a losing bet - with a V-2, you didn't need to risk any people. But their payload was minimal compared to a bomber and only random chance would let them damage something strategically important, compared to the RAF raids in which squadrons of bombers went out to attack a particular militarily-significant target.

And for an atomic bomb, the Germans may have only been a few months off the necessary technical ability, but they were miles off the ability to actually build one. To make an atomic bomb, you need the necessary radio-isotopes, and the Allied raid on Peenemunde destroyed any possibility of the Germans acquiring fissionable material.

The German invention of Blitzkrieg tactics was certainly what got them to France in 1940. The French and British had prepared to fight in a WWI-style, forgetting that it was the British who'd first shown in WWI how tanks can devastate a defensive line, and how aircraft changed the nature of WWI. The problem with Blitzkrieg is that it only works if you can drive your opponents back. Had the Germans won air superiority in 1940, Operation Sealion would have swept over the Channel and the war would have been over - even with the British navy being better than the German equivalents, air power would have got the Germans across the Channel, and the BEF had left so much equipment at Dunkirk that there wouldn't have been anything to defend with. The Battle of Britain stopped that in its tracks though, because it was the first time that Blitzkrieg had met an opponent with significant air defences.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Teribus
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 12:40 PM

"Germany was way ahead with some weaponry" - Really?

- "they developed the world's first jet fighter (the ME 262)"
With the Me262, the Luftwaffe beat the British efforts into the air by nine months. The Junkers axial-flow engines, designed by Dr. Anselm Franz, would typically last 10–25 hours (longer with an experienced pilot) and sometimes exploded on their first startup. The engines that powered the Meteor were much more reliable by comparison. The equivalent British engine would run for 150 hours between overhauls and had twice the power-to-weight ratio and half the specific fuel consumption. By the end of the war every major engine company in Britain was working on jet designs based on the Whittle pattern, or licensed outright. Once the tactics had been worked out P-47's Thunderbolts, P-51D Mustangs, Mosquitos, Hawker Tempests and Spitfire MkIX's shot down Me262's piloted by Germany's most experienced pilots. The first Me262 shot down in combat, fell to a Spitfire MkIX of 401 Squadron RCAF on 5 October 1944. The introduction of the Me262 had little or no impact in the course of the war. The German's inability to overcome its serious technical problems, get it built and operational in significant numbers had a great deal to do with the supposedly ineffective allied bomber offensive that people keep referring to.

- "the world's first proper assault rifle (Sturmgweher, on which the AK47 was based)"
I don't really know whether that is necessarily all that much of an advantage. The British Army for years shied away from a standard infantry weapon with a full automatic fire selector. Firing on full automatic means that you have to carry that much more ammunition. That by the bye the was the great weakness of the MG-42 that Rapaire mentioned, it had too rapid a rate of fire (something like 1200 rounds per minute) ammo belts contained 50 rounds. Used in exactly the same role, the Bren firing 30 round box magazines at much slower 600 rounds per minute was by far the more effective weapon. I believe that the Bren is the only light machine-gun that was accurate enough to target shoot with on fully automatic.

- "the world's first military rockets (the V2 - on which the Apollo was based)"
Sorry Nickhere but that honour belongs to Sir William Congreve in 1805, who got the idea from the Mysore Rocket artillery of Tipu Sultan in India, these were "light-the-blue-touch-paper-and-retire" variety, Congreve developed and introduced a very primative rocket motor to the design and an improved warhead. Congreve's rockets are briefly mentioned in the US National Anthem.

- "the Tiger tank was more than a match for almost anything the Allies could throw at it"
Another casualty of that ineffective allied bombing campaign, the Tiger or PzVI was collectively, too heavy, under powered, lacked standardisation, was difficult and expensive to produce, mechanically unreliable (big feature in German tanks from the word go). Biggest lesson learnt by the British in the Western Desert was that Tanks do not fight Tanks. The British 17-pounder as used on the Sherman Firefly, firing its normal APCBC ammunition, could penetrate a Tiger frontally out to over 2,000 m. The US 76 mm gun, if firing the APCBC M62 ammunition, could penetrate the Tiger frontally out to just over 500 m, and could be at ranges in excess of 1,000 m to achieve penetration against the upper hull superstructure. First Tiger to be knocked out by the British in North Africa was destroyed by a British towed 6-pdr anti-tank gun.

- "the 88mm gun was one of the most versatile and effective pieces of artillery made (as a field piece, in anti-aircraft role, anti-tank)"
British 3.7" heavy AA Gun was the German 88's direct equivalent in every respect. It never had to be used in an anti-tank role as the British 6-pdr and 17-pdr anti-tank guns were more than capable of knocking out German armour. Remember the Germans only found out about the 88's anti-tank capability through an act of desperation. In the field it was an extremely vulnerable piece of kit, very difficult to conceal because of its height and profile.

- "The Allies couldn't wait to snap up Nazi scientists in order to get access to all that invaluable knowledge - one of the reasons they were in a race with the Russians. The Germans were apparently only a few months off completing the atomic bomb by the time they surrendered."
Only a few months away from completing their own atomic bomb eh Nickhere? We are talking about May 1945 here aren't we? Because according to German records work was begun,

"under the auspices of the German Army Ordnance Office on the day World War II began, 1 September 1939. The program eventually expanded into the following main efforts: the Uranmaschine (nuclear reactor), uranium and heavy water production, and uranium isotope separation. The zenith of the effort came when it was realized that nuclear fission would not contribute significantly to ending the war. In January 1942, the Army Ordnance Office turned the program over to the Reich Research Council, but continued to fund the program. At this time, the program split up between nine major institutes where the directors dominated the research and set their own objectives. At that time, the number of scientists working on applied nuclear fission began to diminish, with many applying their talents to more pressing war-time demands."

Doesn't sound like they were close to anything in 1945.

"They were also ahead with tactics - the Blitzkreig"
Sorry to disappoint you again Nickhere, but "Blitzkreig" was taken directly from the works of a British Army Captain called Basil Liddell-Hart and a French Cavalry Officer who went by the name of Charles De Gaulle.

Had the Germans managed to cross the channel and successfuly invade Britian the British Government plus all the other European Governments in exile along with the British Royal family and the Royal families of the conquered nations of Europe would probably have boarded ships of the Royal Navy and sailed to Canada to continue the fight from there. Germany would then have successfully invaded Ireland to prevent it falling into the wrong hands.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 01:06 PM

I think you're being just a little hard on the Germans, Teribus. ;-) Just because you have once opposed someone in a war doesn't mean they simply couldn't do anything right. But (shrug)...okay, fine with me. Not my problem. Much of what you say is accurate, but it's very, very partisan.

I do think that the Russians fielded, overall, the best tanks in that war, and we appear to agree on that. They didn't waste their efforts on a large variety of overly complex machinery the way the Germans did with their various "supertanks" and certain other weapons.

Rapaire, your mother might have invited Hitler to dinner had he become a painter instead of a national leader. ;-) He had intentions of doing that at one point in his youth, and he appears to have been fairly good at it from what I've seen. It's a pity he didn't stick with that plan. If the Germans had won WWI, I don't think we'd ever have had Hitler (or the Nazis) to worry about.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Teribus
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 02:29 PM

If what was stated was mostly accurate then that is what it is mostly accurate, it is not a question of being hard on anyone.

I don't believe that I have ever stated that the Germans couldn't do anything right. Their "command and control" of all-arms formations for example was superb and it was that, that allowed them to do so much with the equipment they had.

Left to the German High Command the war would never have been waged, on analysis, given 20 x 20 hindsight, I have always been amazed that they ever thought of attempting it. But Hitler built up Germany's armed forces with only one thought in mind - to take on Communist Russia - He lost.

Could the UK on its own have defeated Germany? I would say yes it could. It would have taken a great deal longer, but Britain was in a position to trade with a world that was by and large "friendly", Britain could also pick and chose where and when to attack. Germany on the otherhand was blockaded and could only strip the lands she had conquered, territory that was markedly hostile and which needed to be garrisoned.

Britain could use the RAF to hit Germany, Germany did not have the aircraft to attack the British war effort in the same way. For a conflict between Britain and Germany, Norway was Germany's weak spot. Armour was of no use in Norway, there were very few airfields in Norway so Germany's numerical superiority in aircraft would have been negated. Take and hold Narvik and Germany runs out of steel.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 02:59 PM

"Left to the German High Command the war would never have been waged, on analysis, given 20 x 20 hindsight, I have always been amazed that they ever thought of attempting it. But Hitler built up Germany's armed forces with only one thought in mind - to take on Communist Russia - He lost."

Dead right. I'm amazed that they ever thought of attempting it too. Talk about hubris! They had the bad luck to be under the command of an unstable man who made decisions on the basis of pure emotion, not logic.

The only point on which I think I disagree with you (and it's purely hypothetical, mind you) is that I don't think the British could have defeated Germany on their own (assuming the Germans never attacked Russia). I think they would have simply fought each other to a stalemate, and then would have eventually negotiated and the war would have ended with no clear victor.

When that happens, both sides tell their people at home "We won.", much celebrating and chest-thumping is done on both sides by the media while many hard questions are asked behind closed doors by the political and military leaders, and then the planning begins for the next possible future go-round while both sides consolidate and re-assess their position in the world.

Anyway, it's interesting to speculate on what might have been.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Teribus
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 06:48 PM

From 1926 come hell or high water a Germany under Hitler was always going to attack Soviet Russia, no doubt about that whatsoever.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Nickhere
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 08:35 PM

Teribus, you're about 1,000 years too late with the example of William Congreve. China used the first 'military' rockets - fireworks really to scare the enemy. But I was thinking of liquid fuel rockets, not outdated solid fuel. But I may be wrong in any case since the Russians had developed the Katyusha. But it's range was quite limited compared to the V2. I suppose though the V2 carried a small payload, its effect was terrifying as there was no way to stop it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Nickhere
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 08:41 PM

Incidentally the Nazis weren't the only ones ones to consider invading Ireland. Both eth Britsih and teh americnas considered it (especially the Brits - a initiative that mostly emanated from Churchill). They decided against it in the end as Ireland was 'neutral on the side of the Allies' anyway and Germany didn't seem ready to invade it. That loveable rogue Churchill even had a squadron of Lnacaster bombers with phosgene gas payloads on standby just in case the Germans did invade Ireland.... the probable deaths of the Irish as well didn't trouble him at all, since it was for a greater (Britain's) good. He was a 'gas' man alright, old Churchill ("a gas man" in Eire means 'a funny or entertaining person') - he had advocated gassing the Kurds in the 1920s when they were being truculent.

As DeValera said 'Britain seems to think its necessity is a moral imperative'

Ok, that's another thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: GUEST,Zach
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 09:03 PM

Well the British did eventually get their chance to use gas in Ireland. 16th October 1974 in the Long Kesh prison they used the cancer causing CR gas. They also denied it for 30 years !


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Dead Horse
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 09:10 PM

I find it all totally amazing that the German war machine held out as long as it did.
It took on far more than it could chew, and it was saddled with Mussolini as an ally!
I also find it equally amazing that anyone could believe that the UK was alone.
The entire British Commonwealth, let alone the rest of the European nations that sided against the Axis powers, should have been able to defeat them EVENTUALLY.
The Soviet part in the destruction of the Axis powers still tends to be almost ignored by the majority of westerners, and the effects of the USA is just as equally overrated.
Maybe we should ask if the USA could have defeated Japan on its own?
Obviously the answer to that is an emphatic YES.
But sadly, the Yanks did not learn from their allies in the early years of their intervention in Europe, and so needlessly lost an awful lot of ships, planes and men.
The Russians lost more men and material in ONE battle than the USA lost in the entire European war.
What other thoughts have I got on this subject?
Oh, yes. My dad beat Rommel in the desert. Monty was just a "Johnny come lately" and got all the glory! So there!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 09:12 PM

I think that if fate had placed Churchill on the other side in that war, he would be seen now not as a lovable rogue, but as a vicious, bloody-minded, ruthless demagogue. He would, in my opinion, have made a superb fascist, because he had the necessary killer instincts.

But I realize this is an opinion that smacks of heresy in many quarters. Well, it's just my opinion, remember, so don't worry too much about it. ;-) It won't change anything.

Another place that the British were planning to invade (in 1940) was Norway. Why? For the same reasons the Germans were planning to...it was highly strategic territory. Both Germany and England felt that they needed to occupy Norway to secure their own flank, while the Norwegians were naturally hoping to remain neutral.

But the Germans moved first.

Had the British moved first instead, then the Germans would have been the "noble rescuers" rushing to the aid of neutral Norway...and had the British invaders won the campaign, then whoever amongst the Norwegians took up the new government as a British satellite would have been the "Quisling" of the moment.

Thus does political propaganda work. Germany's and Britain's interests in Norway were equally self-serving and pragmatic, having essentially nothing to do with the interests of the Norwegians themselves.

I might add, though, that I would rather have been occupied by the British at that time than by Nazi Germany, if I had to make a choice about it. Just in case anyone wonders...

The way the small countries chose to align themselves in that war (with Allies or Axis) depended on their own Realpolitik, and their own strategic concerns. Thus the Finns, the Hungarians, the Rumanians, and the Bulgarians willingly joined the Axis cause...since the enemy they feared most was Soviet Russia.

But Franco was the smartest of all. He stayed out of the whole thing entirely.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 09:26 PM

Yeah, the USA could definitely have defeated Japan on its own. Matter of fact, Admiral Yamamoto was of that opinion also, and he was supreme commander of the Japanese Navy. He did not think Japan could win a war with the USA...

But the Japanese Army was running tbe government. So Yamamoto, when given the order by the Army chiefs, had to do his duty like a good Japanese and plan to fight a war he didn't believe he could win.

The Pearl Harbour attack was Yamamoto's plan to better the Japanese chances in that war. It was very imaginative, and it was carried out with great skill and panache, but I believe in retrospect that it was about the most self-defeating thing the Japanese could have come up with, as I mentioned in an earlier post. It just made things worse for them in the long run.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Teribus
Date: 20 Jun 08 - 12:43 AM

Strategic importance of Norway to the British was primarily geographical with the secondary benefit of what it denied the enemy.

Strategic importance of Norway to the Germans was primarily in securing their supply of iron ore from Sweden through Narvik with the secondary benefit of the acquisition of Norway's Merchant Fleet (most modern in the world at that time). A third consideration was also geographical in that it made the blockade of Germany that much more difficult.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Jun 08 - 11:52 AM

Indeed. There was no way that the Norwegians were getting through that war unscathed. It must be a truly rotten experience for a small country to find itself in a spot like that.

The Swedes were the only ones in that whole area who managed to avoid being attacked by someone.

Any comments on the reasons for Sweden's good fortune in that sense, Teribus? I'd be interested to hear what you think about it. They must have made good money during that war, what with trading to both the Axis and the Allies. I read that German and British planes were landing at the same Swedish airfields to pick up loads of ball bearings, and the crews were eyeing each other suspiciously as they went about their business.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: alanabit
Date: 20 Jun 08 - 12:52 PM

Both British and German ships used Bofors AA guns - made in Sweden. They fired shells. The MG AA guns, Oerliken, named after a suburb of Zürich, were also used by both sides. For neutral countries, war is not necessarily bad for business...


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Teribus
Date: 20 Jun 08 - 05:05 PM

Sweden's credentials as a "neutral" state were pretty impecable going back some 150 years nearly. They were staunch supporters of the League of Nations and had intimated that they would stay out of any conflict. They were also experienced in keeping an eye on and co-existing with the two main powers in the area, Germany and Russia. The premise that guaranteed Sweden's survival was that if ever Russia and Germany were to fight neither could spare troops to sort out Sweden if the Swedes made sure they were armed. From 1938 until 1943 Sweden's defence budget and military spending increased dramatically, the signal was sent that the Swede's would not be a push-over and by 1939 the main protagonists attention was elsewhere.

In order to sweeten the deal the Swede's were very receptive to pressure from Nazi Germany and yielded many concessions, right of transit across Swedish territory and use of the Swedish Rail Network to transport German troops and equipment during the occupation of Norway was one such concession - I do not believe that the Norwegians will ever totally forgive Sweden for that.

Geographically Sweden was not as important as Denmark or Norway to Germany. Like Norway, Sweden's armed forces were all conscripts and 1 million of them formed a "Homeguard" force. Norway's armed forces and homeguard scared the Germans rigid in late spring and early summer of 1940, they had the advantage of knowing the terrain and they could shoot, since the mid 1800's every boy over the age of 14 in Norway was taught to shoot a rifle. Rifle clubs in Norway still to this day receive massive financial support from the Norwegian Government. The Germans used about 550,000 troops to garrison Norway, which had a population at the time of less than 4 million, which works out at one German soldier for every seven Norwegian civilians - the prospect of facing the same problem in Sweden would not have appealed to the Germans - they simply did not have the manpower.

Yes Sweden made money from the war, exactly as the USA did in the First World War and for the first part of the Second World War. Sweden also freely gave aid to her neighbours for post-war construction and received all but 800 of Denmark's Jews as bona fide asylum seekers in order to save them from the Nazis. The attitude towards Norwegian resistance fighters up until 1943 was to hand them over to the Germans, after it became obvious that Germany was not going to win the war in 1943 that policy changed, but once again it is a thing that the Norwegians remember.

The ball-bearing flights between Stockholm and Leuchars by the fledgeling BOAC during the war saw an unarmed Mosquito climb to maximum height over Sweden to make the straight shallow diving run for Britain. The aircraft was "clocked" by the Germans at a speed in excess of 600 knots, I do not believe that any were lost to enemy action in the 520 flights that were made.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Jun 08 - 06:23 PM

That was smart work on the part of the Swedes. And also on the part of the British with those Mosquitoes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: alanabit
Date: 21 Jun 08 - 08:08 AM

As a postscript to Teribus's footnote about the escape of Denmark's Jews, there was a TV documentary here a few months ago about the subject. It appears very likely that there was a tip off about imminent round up of Jews, which came from a humane member of the German embassy. The news was leaked in time and most of them got out in small boats before the round up began. It is one of the more heartwarming stories I have heard among all the human disaster, which was the Second World War.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Teribus
Date: 21 Jun 08 - 08:43 AM

The Danes took a very principled stand against the Nazi'swith regard to the Jews. When the Jewish citizens of Denmark were ordered by their Nazi occupiers to wear the "Star of David" on their clothing to distinguish themselves as being Jews, on the appointed day the entire country trooped out all wearing stars from the Head of the Royal Family down.

In Norway when teachers and priests were ordered to teach and preach Nazi propaganda the resigned enmasse - no-one came forward to replace them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Jun 08 - 10:48 AM

Now that's the kind of story I like to hear! Good for the Danes and the Norwegians.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: meself
Date: 21 Jun 08 - 11:42 AM

Not to take anything away from the Danes - but I've read that the story of the Danish royal family (not to mention the rest of the populace) wearing the yellow star is folklore. Any authoritative source to the contrary?

"a tip off about imminent round up of Jews, which came from a humane member of the German embassy"

Hannah Arendt in Eichmann in Jerusalem says the German officials who were stationed in Denmark and in Bulgaria, which also refused to co-operate with anti-Semitic measures, tended to soften their own views over time, and begin to drag their feet enforcing the anti-Semitic edicts from Berlin. In fact, probably the most damning evidence against Eichmann concerned a trip he made to Bulgaria to whip his underlings into line, because they were not carrying out his anti-Semitic directives with enough rigor.

By the way, for anyone with the remotest interest in this stuff, Eichmann in Jerusalem is a must-read.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: goatfell
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 08:28 AM

So Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel islands weren't in the war it was just ENGLAND, and then the English wonder why some of the other countries don't like them, I wonder why?


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: goatfell
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 08:43 AM

Yes of we BRITISH did beat the Germans at the battle of BRITIAN when the Germans were bombing BRITISH cities.

ut don't get me wrong I like the English as Individuals but as a nation not really, mind you I do have memebers of my family that come from England, America, Australia, Poland and South Africa.

so I do like England really.


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Subject: RE: BS: Could the UK have defeated Germany ?
From: goatfell
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 08:50 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom

this is the web page I found


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Mudcat time: 5 April 1:29 PM EDT

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